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Apple ‘hacker’ spared jail over iCloud blackmail

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Apple 'hacker' spared jail over iCloud blackmail

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BBC / Apple

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ICloud helps Apple customers back up their devices

A 22-year-old man admitted trying to blackmail Apple by claiming access to millions of iCloud accounts.

Kerem Albayrak of North London threatened to clear 319 million accounts unless Apple gave her $ 100,000 (£ 76,000) iTunes gift cards.

But an investigation found that Albayrak had not compromised Apple's systems.

He received a two-year suspended prison sentence and was sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid work.

In March 2017, Albayrak emailed Apple's security team claiming to have breached millions of iCloud accounts.

He posted a video on YouTube that seemed to show him hacking into two accounts.

He threatened to sell account information, dump his online database and reset accounts unless Apple paid for the iTunes gift card demand.

Albayrak also said he would accept $ 75,000 in encryption, but then increased it to $ 100,000.

He was arrested at his home in north London about two weeks after sending his threat.

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Apple investigated its allegations but could find no evidence that its systems had been compromised.

The UK National Crime Agency found that Albayrak had gathered email addresses and passwords from other services that had previously been exposed to data breaches.

He then tried his luck, seeing if anyone had used the same username and password for the iCloud account.

This type of attack, known as credential completion, can be automated to speed up the process.

Albayrak told investigators, "When you have power on the internet, it's like fame and everyone respects you."

In addition to 300 hours of unpaid work, he received a six-month electronic curfew.

"Albayrak mistakenly believed he could escape justice after breaking into two accounts and trying to blackmail a large multinational corporation," said Anna Smith, NCA's director of research.

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